Expectant mothers may not know that what they eat affects the tooth development of the fetus. Poor nutrition during pregnancy may make the unborn child more likely to have tooth decay later in life. “Between the ages of 14 weeks to four months, deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, protein and calories could result in oral defects,” says Carole Palmer, EdD, RD, professor at TUSDM and head of the division of nutrition and oral health promotion in the department of public health and community service. Some data also suggest that lack of adequate vitamin B6 or B12 could be a risk factor for cleft lip and cleft palate formation.
In children, tooth decay is the most prevalent disease, about five times more common than childhood asthma. “If a child’s mouth hurts due to tooth decay, he/she is less likely to be able to concentrate at school and is more likely to be eating foods that are easier to chew but that are less nutritious. Foods such as donuts and pastries are often lower in nutritional quality and higher in sugar content than more nutritious foods that require chewing, like fruits and vegetables,” says Palmer. “Oral complications combined with poor diet can also contribute to cognitive and growth problems and can contribute to obesity.”
Myth 2: More sugar means more tooth decay
It isn’t the amount of sugar you eat; it is the amount of time that the sugar has contact with the teeth. “Foods such as slowly-dissolving candies and soda are in the mouth for longer periods of time. This increases the amount of time teeth are exposed to the acids formed by oral bacteria from the sugars,” says Palmer.
Some research shows that teens obtain about 40 percent of their carbohydrate intake from soft drinks. This constant beverage use increases the risk of tooth decay. Sugar-free carbonated drinks and acidic beverages, such as lemonade, are often considered safer for teeth than sugared beverages but can also contribute to demineralization of tooth enamel if consumed regularly.
To read the entire article written by Medardo Chua, please visit IDentalAccess.com
Scott A. Simpson, DDS, PLLC
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